Berlin zoo faces lawsuit over Knut profits

9th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

A legal fight begins between two zoos over profits made using the famous polar bear

Zoo Berlin faces legal action as the Tierpark Neumuenster animal park plans to sue it over profits made using the now famous polar bear Knut for marketing, claiming it deserves licensing revenue over the animal, Berlin daily Tagesspiegel reported.

Tierpark Neumuenster lent polar bear Lars, Knut's father, to Berliner Zoo in 1999 for breeding purposes. According to sources at the Neumuenster zoo, it was specified in an agreement between the two that Lars' first surviving cub would belong to them – making Knut property of Tierpark Neumuenster, and entitling them to some of the revenue made. Knut was born on December 5th 2006 in the capital, and has since become a sensation in Germany – Zoo Berlin claimed a profit of around 6.8 million euros for 2007, with almost 3.2 million people visiting Knut that year.

Though no complaints have been made about Knut being kept in Berlin, the issue is important for Tierpark Neumuenster for other reasons. Its director Peter Druewa was reported by Tagesspiegel as saying the money made using Knut for marketing purposes would be useful for financing renovation works at the zoo in Neumuenster. Officials at the Berlin zoo, however, seem unwilling to give away any of the money. Spokesperson Detlef Untermann claimed the other zoo had no right to money, adding “Now, of course, the court will decide.”

--Dave Baxter

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